Trucks carrying a variety of goods drive through an expansive site with tented warehouses, and before they could park hazmat-suited workers run to spray down the trucks. The cargo trucks from Tanzania entered Rwanda through Rusumo border post. Sanitation workers are making all necessary attempts to disinfect the vehicles. “This is an exercise done as part of the efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus,” one healthcare worker tells The New Times. After being disinfected, trucks proceed to be cleared by customs officers who clear goods, before they could be transhipped. Last week on Friday, Rwanda recorded 22 new coronavirus cases, the highest number the country had registered. The cases were linked to cross border drivers and their crew. As part of the plan to contain the virus, the government decided to take serious measures that included extending customs clearance to border posts. The Government has set up a new facility in Rusumo near the Rwanda-Tanzania border to handle all customs clearing processes as part of the move to contain the rising cases of the new coronavirus. Customs services were previously offered by customs offices in Kigali and other customs controlled areas like Magerwa, Dubai Ports Word (Kigali Logistics Platform) and Bollore Logistics. The past six days, new cases of COVID-19 recorded in Rwanda have been linked to truck drivers and their crew, who along transport corridors, interact with many communities. To manage the drivers, the Government last week devised several measures, part of which was a decision to extend customs clearing and warehousing services at Rusumo and Kagitumba border points. The new facility at Rusumo is located about five kilometres from Rusumo border post. “All customs clearing processes and trade logistics services are available here to make sure that trade (across borders) is facilitated, so that they can be able to supply them to the market,” Rosine Uwamariya, the Commissioner of Customs at the Rwanda Revenue Authority said. The facility At the new facility, the government works with clearing agencies, shippers, transporters, importers, and warehouse operators to make sure the process to clear goods is smooth. “For clearing agents they don’t need to be here. We have leveraged on technology – our electronic single window system, to submit all papers to RRA. It’s pretty much how we have been doing,” Uwamariya noted. The logistics platform, which has been operational for the last four days, is able to handle somewhere between 100 and 150 trucks and conveyors, and warehouse facilities can accommodate at least 100 containers. Among other guidelines, Government directed that transporters who shall have two truck drivers (one from the point of departure and a second driver based on Rwandan territory) shall be allowed to proceed to their final destination. It is a move that is seen as critical towards containing the spread of the highly pneumonia virus while allowing smooth flow of goods across the borders. Fred Seka, the President of the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders highlighted that the decision has been embraced by some transporters as discussions to have harmonized guidelines continue. “There is an understanding that this move is something that will respond to the pandemic. Transporters have embraced it while education is needed to be carried out to convince others. What we need are harmonised guidelines now,” he said.